Man with B12 deficiency showed ‘changed personality’ and ‘collapsed’

Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin, found in lots of animal products including meat, fish and cheese. It can also be found in some fortified cereals and yeast products like Marmite. Without enough B12 it can prevent our red blood cells from functioning properly, leading to anaemia.

Due to the nature of how it works in our bodies it is expected that those with a B12 deficiency would experience issues such as fatigue.

And other common side effects include weakness and shortness of breath.

However, in its more advanced stages it can have more severe complications.

This was the case for one patient of the Ispat General Hospital in India.

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In a report, published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry in 2018, medical staff detailed how he exhibited extreme symptoms.

The paper said: “We present here a patient of vitamin B12 deficiency with rare combination of acute exacerbation of psychiatric manifestations, brain atrophy, severe anaemia with coronary insufficiency, and premature greying of hair, all of which disappeared with vitamin B12 therapy, except the greying of hair. In addition, the necessity of early detection and treatment of the disease is emphasised.”

“A 55-year-old man presented in our outpatient department, with complaints of irrelevant talk for 10 days.

“Fifteen days back, while he was visiting his psychiatrist, he collapsed in front of the clinic, so was referred to the emergency department.


“He was advised coronary angiogram by the cardiologist as there was evidence of coronary insufficiency in his electrocardiogram. In the meantime, the patient developed irrelevant talk and impaired judgement for which he was referred to us to rule out organic causes.”

It added: “He was apathetic, of average built, pale, unshaven, and sick looking. His hair on the face and head was grey.

“His memory was disturbed, judgement impaired, had a changed personality as he had become isolated, apathetic, and withdrawn.

“He was also unwilling to think and depressed.”

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It concluded: “Vitamin B12 plays an important role in DNA synthesis. Its deficiency is associated with hematologic, neurologic, psychiatric, gastrointestinal, dermatologic, and cardiovascular manifestations.

“The vitamin is involved in the proliferation, maturation, and regeneration of neural cells. Hence, cognitive dysfunction may be a manifestation of cortical neuronal dysfunction.”

If you are unable to get enough vitamin B12 from diet, supplements are available in pharmacies and health stores.

In more extreme cases doctors can prescribe injections.

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